Sears’s History Predicts Almost Everything Amazon’s Doing

Why is Amazon looking more and more like an old-fashioned retailer? The company’s do-it-all corporate strategy adheres to a familiar playbook—that of Sears, Roebuck & Company. Sears might seem like a zombie today, but it’s easy to forget how transformative the company was exactly 100 years ago, when it, too, was capitalizing on a mail-to-consumer business to establish a physical retail presence. To understand Amazon—its evolution, its strategy, and perhaps its future—look to Sears.

Source: Sears’s History Predicts Almost Everything Amazon’s Doing – The Atlantic

Maybe more time should be spent within the press on why Amazon keeps getting a pass on everything.

Patreon Acquires Memberful, An Interview with Patreon CEO Jack Conte and Memberful CEO Drew Strojny

I think there has been a shift from paying for stuff that’s already made to paying for the ongoing creation of content, and to my mind publishers need to get into that mindset of shifting away from selling something that’s already done to selling the creation of something. That shift seems to mirror the Patreon “This stuff is already out there, and if you want to throw a few bucks our way that’d be amazing and you’ll feel good about it” to “Look, if you want this stuff, you gotta pay for it” sort of way. Do you think that’s a fair characterization, do you see the same shift, or am I sort of imagining things here?

There’s a whole segment of the market that doesn’t want to build a membership business on someone else’s platform, they want full control of the branding, they want full control of the experience. Right now Patreon is unable to serve that market, if we were to build that, it would be a completely separate thing. Working with the Memberful team accelerates us into that market segment, so it gives us a very big head start. I would say mostly that’s where the value is.

Source: Patreon Acquires Memberful, An Interview with Patreon CEO Jack Conte and Memberful CEO Drew Strojny – Stratechery by Ben Thompson

Contributing Back to Node.js is the Most Important Area of Work for Microsoft

The most exciting thing to me about Node.js is its ubiquity. Node.js is in the initial stages of its uptick. There’s a long way to go and a long way to grow.” – Gaurav Seth, Group Product Manager at Microsoft

Source: Contributing Back to Node.js is the Most Important Area of Work for Microsoft

General Magic – ‘It had Apple’s fairy dust sprinkled on it’

From the Hollywood Reporter’s Tribeca Film Festival review:

See if you can identify the following people: Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Steve Wozniak, Mark Porat.

If you puzzled over the last name, don’t feel bad. Porat was the founder of a technology company called General Magic, which you also probably haven’t heard of despite it once being described in Forbes magazine as “the most important dead company in Silicon Valley.” Matthew Maude and Sarah Kerruish’s documentary General Magic, receiving its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival, provides a compelling history of a company that created a groundbreaking product that was unfortunately ahead of its time.

The company, started in 1990, was a spinoff of Apple, which six years earlier had unveiled the Macintosh. The idea was to create a handheld personal computer, essentially a precursor to the modern smartphone, and its roster included some of the best and brightest talents in the technology industry including Andy Hertzfeld, Bill Atkinson, Megan Smith, Kevin Lynch and Tony Fadell. As a New York Times journalist says of the fledging enterprise, “It had Apple’s fairy dust sprinkled on it.”

My take: I remember the guys at General Magic. I remember what Apple did to them. What I didn’t know was what they did next. See below (click to enlarge):

General Magic

General Magic

General Magic

General Magic

Source: ‘It had Apple’s fairy dust sprinkled on it’ – 24/7 Wall St.

also see a great first hand running story about General Magic

https://www.cake.co/conversations/6bNY8PD/that-time-in-1994-when-steve-jobs-got-to-use-a-device-like-an-iphone

 

Thanks, Google! – We can do better without them.

It’s now clear that the demise of the Google Reader was first really loud warning that you can’t rely on a publicly traded, profit-driven Silicon Valley tech company to deliver content. There is no way that story ends well. They will feed you sponsored crapundermine your democracy, or pull the rug out from under your feet entirely.

Source: The Old Reader: behind the scenes – Thanks, Google!

Tesla Solar Roof owner discusses installation price, maintenance, and savings

Huynh noted that the entire Solar Roof installation for his 1,000-square-foot roof totaled $100,000, which included the cost of all the tiles and three Powerwall 2 home batteries. The Solar Roof owner added that Tesla’s shingles became a reasonable investment for him since he was in the market for a new roof anyway, and his home is in Northern CA, where sunshine is abundant. Huynh was given a quote of $50,000 for the complete replacement of his roof alone. The Solar Roof owner stated that when he priced out a new roof and traditional solar panels, it came to around $70,000 without any batteries.

Source: Tesla Solar Roof owner discusses installation price, maintenance, and savings

Project ‘Fuchsia’: Google is Quietly Working on a Successor to Android

“Switching away from Android could provide Google the opportunity to hit the reset button on any mistakes they believe they made a decade ago,” said Jeffrey Grossman, co-founder of messaging app Confide. “They might be able to regain some power that they’ve ceded to device manufacturers and telecom carriers.”

Another risk comes from the foundation of the new operating system. Android and Chrome OS are built on Linux, a widely used open-source programming language. The “Linux kernel” is the core of Google’s current operating systems, handling instructions zipping between the hardware and software of smartphones and other devices. Fuchsia uses a different kernel, called Zircon, that eschews many of the older technologies in Linux. This could make some existing devices incompatible.

Source: Project ‘Fuchsia’: Google is Quietly Working on a Successor to Android – Bloomberg

World Cup 2018: Apple products are everywhere, even though it’s not a sponsor

But instead of paying to emblazon its logo on match-side billboards, Apple took a different tack—and it may not even have been on purpose.

Players from around the world have been seen wearing Apple’s AirPods wireless earbuds, and Beats headphones, which Apple also owns, before matches, disembarking planes, or even returning to their home countries in defeat.

FIFA has pretty strict rules around what it calls “ambush marketing,” where a brand pays players to wear or use its products before or during World Cup games, even though that company has not paid to be an official World Cup sponsor. It’s why any player you see wearing Beats headphones before a game, for example, has the company’s logo taped over.

But both Beats and AirPods have a distinctive look that is difficult to mask, even with the branding obscured. While covered-up Beats were a big marketing win for Apple at the 2014 World Cup, just months after it had acquired the company, AirPods are a more subtle sell this time around. The minuscule $160 earbuds are one of the few Apple products that don’t have any Apple branding on them at all. But when you see them on a player, it’s almost impossible to mistake them for anything else.

Source: World Cup 2018: Apple products are everywhere, even though it’s not a sponsor — Quartz

PSA: ‘Fortnite’ Isn’t Out on Android but Fake Apps Are Scamming People Through YouTube Videos With Malicious Links

This scam begins with users searching Google or YouTube for information about Fortnite on Android which brings up various results that claim to have the easiest way to install the game on Android or links to download the game. Unsuspecting users then proceed to watch a YouTube scam video that links to a fake app that mimicks the real iOS version with load screens and music. Users then get redirected to Google Play after some verification and then proceed to be linked to various other apps. There’s no official Fortnite on Google Play yet so the users end up wasting their own resources adding to the download count of apps from scammers.

Source: PSA: ‘Fortnite’ Isn’t Out on Android but Fake Apps Are Scamming People Through YouTube Videos With Malicious Links – TouchArcade

We Have Reached Peak Screen. Now Revolution Is in the Air.

If Apple could only improve Siri, its own voice assistant, the Watch and AirPods could combine to make something new: a mobile computer that is not tied to a huge screen, that lets you get stuff done on the go without the danger of being sucked in. Imagine if, instead of tapping endlessly on apps, you could just tell your AirPods, “Make me dinner reservations at 7” or “Check with my wife’s calendar to see when we can have a date night this week.”

Source: We Have Reached Peak Screen. Now Revolution Is in the Air. – The New York Times